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Publisher's Letter

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October 01, 2002
Publisher's Letter
Richard Siegel - rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

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© 2002 Hospitality Upgrade. No reproduction without written permission.

What you are about to read here is pretty unprofessional for a well-respected technology magazine. But, I have always been known to break a few rules, so why stop now? If you want something more contemporary regarding my thoughts on technology today, please read this issue’s Siegel Sez.

We have played up this year as being our 10th year in technology publishing. Sept. 1992 was my very first issue of the predecessor of this publication called Hospitality & Automation. In my first issue I focused on property management systems for hotels. There was no Internet to speak of and most of the PMSs being installed were running on mini-computer systems, mostly from IBM. From an advertising standpoint, I had 12 PMS vendors that trusted I would do a good job with their money and in truth I knew nothing about publishing. The 12 vendors in my first issue (with their current company names where appropriate) were: Multi-Systems, Inc; Lodgistix (SoftBrands); Hotel Information Systems; ECI (Galaxy); CSS Hotel Systems; Computerized Lodging Systems (Hotel Information Systems); National Guest Systems (Visual One); Resort Data Processing; Springer Miller Systems; Fidelio (Micros-Fidelio); Marlboro Computer Systems (Ramesys); and Encore (SoftBrands). It is amazing that they are all still around and are still doing business with us. I guess their trust paid off.

When I started publishing on technology I was deathly afraid of IAHA (now HFTP), the association that produced HITEC. I thought they were going to think I was competing with them and try to destroy me. Today, we are their exclusive affiliated technology publication. I am on the HITEC Advisory Board and I have also coordinated the CIO General Session at HITEC for the last four years. Go figure. When I started publishing, I feared the industry’s CIOs. I had only known them from my career of selling technology and they were tough. Last month I put on our industry’s first CIO Summit and most of them were there not because they were convinced that they needed to be there, but because I asked them to be there.

It has been quite a ride for 10 years. I had a few business partners for a short period of time and had mixed results from those experiences, but I did learn from them. In March of 1995 I hired my first full-time employee, Geneva Rinehart. She was fresh out of college and when I interviewed her she told me she would be perfect for the business and the things she didn’t know, she would learn quickly. I trusted her. We are still working together (most of you know that she actually runs the business) and a milestone was recently reached. Geneva and her husband Rick had their first child on Sept. 21, a little girl named Madison Eileen. She was 9lbs, 9oz. Madison better call me Uncle Rich because I don’t see my relationship with Geneva changing any time soon (click on Pictures on the Navigation bar to see little Madie). In 1995 I interviewed a technology hotshot from Westin Hotels & Resorts named Jon Inge, who is now one of the industry’s most respected consultants and has written our feature article for years. I have established so many relationships over 10 years, I wish I could mention them all.

When I started publishing, the one piece of advice I received that I always remembered was that I only had one real goal: When the magazine showed up on a desk, I needed to make sure the person receiving it would open it. I took this advice to heart. Do I really need to include a joke page? Do I really need to fly to someone’s location to interview them? Do I need to have cartoons? Do I need to have an Unsung Heroes page? I compete with some very large publishing companies and have successfully separated Hospitality Upgrade by not being afraid to do things differently. Thankfully, it has often worked.

Ten years is a long time in anyone’s life. The world and my little business have changed dramatically. I think I am very fortunate because I truly love what I do. I have met so many people along the way who have positively impacted my life and I have tried to return the favor. I have also had some people leave my life that I miss every day. But that is part of living, right?

Thank you for letting me reflect. I promise not to do this again … at least not for another 10 years. Before I go, let me have a little fun. There is a correlation between the cover of this issue and the Sept. 1992 issue of Hospitality & Automation. Even if you have never seen the original issue, you might be able to guess the connection. If you think you know, e-mail me at rsiegel@hospitalityupgrade.com. We will have a drawing from all the correct e-mails and will provide a very worthy prize for the winner.

Thanks again for your support; this has been quite a trip for me.

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